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Matt's Beloit

[johnson.jpg]“You can leave Beloit College with a strong transcript, a strong resume, and a strong network. You can do whatever you want with those three things.”

Though he’s just a sophomore, Matt Johnson speaks from experience. His two years have offered opportunities for leadership, paraprofessional work, and even independent research. One resource that supports his success? Beloit’s TRIO programs.

Through mentoring and post-college preparation, the federally funded programs help first-generation students excel. “TRIO works beautifully with the curriculum and your social life,” Matt explains. “It helps you with things you would not otherwise be able to navigate so easily.”

TRIO has also led Matt to a rewarding job. He leads life-skills classes for middle school students. He also works at Beloit’s Intercultural Center, where he’s helped organize panel discussions about campus diversity. “I get to take my personal interests and bring them to a bigger scale,” he says.

Matt’s various opportunities came to him the same way: through personal connections. “I’m amazed at how networking happens so easily on the Beloit campus,” he says. “You learn a lot of skills you can apply in the real world.”

Matt also gains “real world” skills through his Kemper Scholarship. This generous award, offered at only 15 institutions, helps students hold two summer internships. By graduation, Matt will have worked with both non-profit and for-profit organizations. “It teaches you how different business structures work,” he says, adding that the opportunity came to him by word-of-mouth. “Things at Beloit just seem to work out,” he says.

Matt’s academic life is working out, too. When he came to Beloit, he “kind of wanted to major in everything.” Sociology, anthropology, and economics all seemed relevant to his passion: community development. “I want to be able to talk about it from different perspectives,” he says.

Luckily, Matt’s been able to do just that. He’s majoring in Sociology, minoring in Philosophy and Religious Studies, and taking courses in ethical leadership and race theory. Approaching a problem from many vantages, he explains, is best. “I don’t want to come in at just one level and only be able to affect that level.”

Between academics, campus involvement, and playing with the Beloit Ultimate Frisbee Family, Matt’s busy. But, he insists, it’s fun. “Everything I do seems to fit perfectly into my interests,” he says. “It’s the classroom in one aspect, and it’s my friends in another aspect, and it’s my extracurricular life and my scholarship. Everywhere I look factors are constantly making me think and revaluate my opinions.”

For Matt, then, Beloit’s a place where engagement is paid back tenfold. “How active are you going to be in your college experience?” he asks. “If you’re going to be really active, Beloit’s the perfect place for you. You’re going to benefit from being involved.”